By LARRY VAUGHT
As Kentucky tries to show that last year’s 10-win season was no one-year fluke, the Cats have to do it in a league where no one seems to slide back for long.
Florida believes its ready to be a top 10 team. Georgia believes it can win the national title. Tennessee wants to believe better times are ahead. Vanderbilt returns a lot of skilled offensive players. Missouri has a transfer quarterback who has played in a national title game. South Carolina thinks there’s no way it can lose to Kentucky for a sixth straight year.
And that’s just in the SEC Eastern Division.
“It doesn’t surprise me to see the strength of the East,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said during SEC Media Days last week. “We knew that was going to happen.
“There’s quality coaches. There’s great programs, very rich in tradition. None of us are interested in going backwards. There’s some very talented head coaches that are very driven to continue to push, and that’s what we’re all trying to do.”
If that’s not enough to make consistent success difficult, then there’s the SEC West.
“It’s no surprise that the East is improving. But we all know so is the West. So you’re just trying to constantly do your part,” Stoops said.
“I can’t be affected what’s going on with the rest of the league. We really got to focus on Kentucky and what can we do to make sure we’re improving.”